cultivation Archives - Green Market Report

Gretchen GaileyDecember 22, 2020
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4min16551

Editors Note: This is part two of a three-part series.

Blue Dream, Purple Haze, Girl Scout Cookies, Red Headed Stranger, Acapulco Gold, Fruity Pebbles or Pineapple Express… all classic strain names and all of them meaningless.

“Strain names are absolutely misleading with considerable variation in the same cannabinoid content among different specimens of the same strain. You can get the same color and the same smell, but actually levels of the THC and CBD and some of the other compounds could be quite different,” says Robin Marles, Ph.D., chair of the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) Botanical Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines Expert Committee.

USP has assembled an expert panel of clinicians, scientists and industry representatives from around the world to provide necessary information and guidance on critical quality attributes, including recommendations for naming , all laid out in an article in the Journal of Natural Products, Cannabis Inflorescence for Medical Purposes: USP Considerations for Quality Attributes.

“USP recommendations are entirely focused on the inflorescence of the cannabis plant, popularly known as the flower or ‘the bud.’ And as with any plant product, the first challenge was to determine how to classify the various varieties and subtypes that are currently in use.” said Ikhlas Khan, Ph.D., USP’s Cannabis Expert Panel chair.

USP has elected to recognize cannabis as a single plant species, Cannabis sativa L., with different varieties or subtypes that can then be classified based on their THC and CBD content. The expert panel provided guidance for organizing the plant material into three “chemotype” categories: THC-dominant, CBD-dominant, or intermediate varieties that contain physiologically meaningful levels of both – intending to give prescribers or consumers greater clarity about what substances they are using.

In order to properly identify and quantify these cannabis varieties, USP’s expert panel recommended the use of science-based analytical procedures for the industry to employ.  This entails the use of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography (GC) to separate and quantify not just THC and CBD, but also 11 other cannabinoids that are less studied, but may also have an impact on the effect of cannabis products.

USP  has also looked at the composition of terpenes, which are largely responsible for the flavor and odor of cannabis. They identified five different terpenes that are especially abundant in cannabis that could also help with classification: myrcene, limonene, terpinolene, pinene and caryophyllene. Terpenes may form the basis for further subcategorization of cannabis chemotypes to establish the impact of these substances on the pharmacological effects of cannabis products when used in clinical practice. 

“Naming cannabis varieties based on detailed profiles of cannabinoid and terpene content can also help guide prescribers and help ensure that patients are consistently receiving the cannabis varieties that they intended,” said Nandu Sarma, Director, Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines at USP.

 


StaffOctober 28, 2020
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7min17540

Editors Note: This is a guest post.

As a cannabis grower, small increases in your profit margins can make a big difference in the success of your business. And if you want to scale your operations, you need to focus on getting the small details squared away.

5 Ways to Increase Profitability

As cannabis becomes destigmatized as a legitimate industry, it’s imperative that growers and retailers become even more focused on cleaning up business processes and optimizing for profitability. Here are some specific ways you can do just that:

  • Get to Know Your Numbers

 

You can’t strategically boost profit margins if you don’t know what your profit margins are to begin with. To find your profit margin, simply subtract your total business expenditures from your total revenue. This provides your net income. Then take your net income and divide it by your total revenue. This leaves you with your profit margin. 

It’s also important to know metrics like how much it takes you to produce an ounce or a gram of marijuana; how much you can sell different products for; which products are most profitable; which products have lower margins; etc.

You don’t need to be a CPA to understand the basic numbers behind your business. Any time you invest in analyzing this side of your company will serve you will over the long run.

  • Optimize Floor Space

 

As expensive as warehouse space is in most parts of the country, it makes sense that you’d want to make better use of your floor space. In fact, optimizing your floor space is one of the smartest things you can do to boost profits. The more you can grow within a limited footprint, the better your numbers will be.

In addition to vertical cultivation strategies, which allow you to make better use of limited space, you should find the correct crop density for each specific strain you’re growing. 

“When you begin to work with tighter plant density, your nutrient requirements are less, you can utilize labor better, you can more easily cycle plants so your harvest can [be continuous],” says Jim Ott, CEO of Precision Cultivation, which focuses on plant genetics. “If you’re making it like a manufacturing [facility], in terms of your workflow, those are ways to bring some efficiencies.”

Ott encourages growers to stop thinking in terms of traditional measurements, like pounds per bulb, and instead focus on more comprehensive formulas and calculations, such as cost per square foot. 

  • Automate Where You Can

 

Anything you can do to reduce labor with automation is going to benefit you in the long run. Labor is by far one of the greatest expenses. Whether it’s hand watering, trimming, moving plants around, or packaging, overreliance on laborers will cost you.

Automate wherever you can. One good option is to use automatic grow light lifters, which make it easier to move lights, increase production, and achieve more consistent and faster harvest rates.

A fertigation system is also useful. It will automatically inject important nutrients into your hydroponic grow, which eliminates the need for manual involvement. Again, major savings.

  • Consider Outside Investments

 

As the saying goes, it takes money to make money. If you’re struggling to scale your operation to the level that’s required to maximize profitability, perhaps you should think about welcoming in an outside investor. 

While there’s still a lot of red tape on cannabis business investments in the United States, restrictions are loosening, and more venture capitalists and investors are looking for ways to get involved. This could be a good way to inject some cash into the business and fund necessary improvements or expansion. 

  • Cut Energy Costs

 

Energy is obviously a significant expense. One strategy is to lower energy use by ensuring all equipment is appropriate to the specific needs of your site. Under- or over-sized equipment can dramatically impact energy efficiency, hurt production, and kill cash flow. Furthermore, you need to know the hours of peak demand so you can minimize energy use during these hours. 

Ready, Set, Grow!

The beauty of our industry is that there are so many different strategies, business models, and avenues for success. But regardless of which paths you choose to pursue, profitability must be one of your primary concerns. And the more you’re able to grow your profitability, the more you’ll be able to scale and expand in ways that are meaningful.


StaffAugust 19, 2020
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8min948610

Editors Note: This is a guest post. 

If you grow marijuana for a dispensary or personal use, you should know these tips. This guide lists 7 marijuana growing tips every grower needs to know.

In case you didn’t know, CBD is now legal in 33 states, and medical marijuana in the remaining 17. That means that you can grow your own marijuana and make a living out of it. However, making a killing off the trade isn’t as easy as throwing marijuana seeds on the ground and harvesting liters of CBD oil.

Any serious marijuana grower knows that growing marijuana is incredibly difficult. Growing quality marijuana takes lots of diligence, commitment, and resources.  With the right marijuana growing tips; however, growing your own marijuana will be a piece of cake.

Even the most seasoned marijuana growers sometimes have a hard time getting a good yield. However, here is a couple of invaluable marijuana growing tips for both newbies and experienced growers.

  1. Great Genetics Are Everything

You don’t have to be a master marijuana grower to know that your marijuana is only as good as its genetics. The first step to growing some good marijuana is finding an excellent cannabis strain, and there are plenty to choose from. So the million-dollar question is, where do I find quality marijuana strains?

Finding the best weed strains is as simple as searching for them on the internet. You’ll find plenty of seed sellers online who can get you high-quality strains.  You can use the strain finder from Cannaconection to get a great strain.

However, remember to only buy your cannabis from a reputable seller for the best seed. Some swindlers will sell you schwag seeds for the price of a high-quality strain.

If you find a great strain, remember to take proper care of it for the best results.

  1. Always Grow Inside

If you want the best weed, then always grow your weed inside and not outside. Not saying that your weed won’t grow outside, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll get the results you want.

Growing inside gives you more control of the climate and the entire growth process.  Inside is also way hygienic than outside, making it perfect for growing marijuana.

Also, you don’t need an entire greenhouse to grow your marijuana indoors. You can use a few grow boxes that measure a few inches, and your results will be just as stunning. Check out these grow boxes from Bloom by Botanicare and see how they work for you.

  1. Have Proper Lighting

Growing marijuana indoors requires a lot of care, and one aspect you can’t overlook is the light. Outdoor marijuana plants have the privilege of receiving natural light from the sun. Since you’re growing yours indoors, you’ll have to make up for the absence of natural light.

To have your lighting in order, invest in high-quality lights, ballast, reflectors, and hoods. Always remember to change the bulbs at least twice a year.  Only settle for high-quality bulbs, the second-grade bulbs are just as good as an ordinary light bulb.

  1. Have Strict Bedtimes

Most cannabis strains have a short growing cycle of about eight weeks. As such, you need to have them reach their full potential in just two months.

One way of doing so is by having consistent “day” and “night” times. It’s best if they have about twelve hours of darkness and twelve hours of light each day.

Maintain this cycle for the entire two months, and you’ll grow some healthy cannabis. If you use smart lights, you can set them to turn off after twelve hours automatically and turn on again after another twelve hours.

  1. Take It Phase-By-Phase

Each phase of the marijuana growing cycle has different requirements. In the first growth stage, the plant requires a lot of nitrogen to grow and bloom. During the last stages of the plant’s life cycle, it requires virtually no nitrogen.

If you give it a lot of nitrogen during the last growing stages, then it may end up with a nasty metallic taste.  As such, you need to be keen on what you feed your plant at each stage of your life cycle.

  1. Be Careful With What You Feed Your Plants

Nutrient companies will hurl empty promises at your face, and you’re likely going to take the bait. When what they promise seems a bit unrealistic, then it’s probably not true. So don’t spend your money on expensive nutrients that do nothing for your plant.

Also, be on the lookout for knock off nutrients. They do more harm than good for your plants. You can spot knock-offs by their ridiculously low-price tags as compared to the original.

It’s also a good idea to stick to base element nutrients as opposed to pre-mixed ones. You can buy different base element nutrients and mix them by yourself. That way, you can give your plants exactly what they need.

  1. Water Quality Matters… A Lot

All water is not the same because of the quantity and types of dissolved solids in it. These dissolved solids can adversely affect the plant, depending on what they are.  Domestic water is a definite no-no because of the chlorine and fluoride used to treat the water.

These chemicals won’t kill your plants, but you won’t get the best results either. If you really want the best from your plants, then invest in a filtration or reverse osmosis system. Once you do, always remember to change your filters frequently for the best water quality.

It’s Now Upon You to Implement These Marijuana Growing Tips

The quality of your marijuana all rests on the attention and care you give to your plants. With these few marijuana growing tips, you’ll be growing the best marijuana in town.  Remember, it’s completely okay to invest a little money on your marijuana plants.

Most importantly, treat your plants like your babies and nurture them to healthy, blooming adults. While your cannabis plants grow, be sure to check out other informative pieces on the site.

 


Debra BorchardtDecember 5, 2018
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6min27240

When a company is caught growing cannabis illegally, it’s often the landlord who’s left to clean up the mess. The criminals rarely come back for their equipment and the police want nothing to do with it either.

So, the landlord is confronted with clearing out sometimes hundreds of sophisticated, expensive lights, watering systems, and other various cultivation items in order to get the space back to rent. Metal scrapper and the owner of CH Hydroponics James Robba stumbled into the market when he was asked to disassemble a huge illegal grow.

Initially, he tried taking the lights apart to sell for scrap metal. Then he found that he could make more money keeping the lights intact and reselling them versus taking the lights apart. He began testing the lights to see if they worked and when they did he began selling them. “I was getting between $200 and $250 per ballast,” said Robba. For the uninitiated, ballasts run grow lights that are used in indoor grows.

After selling off his first tear down, he began running ads on Craigslist offering his demo work in order to get more second-hand equipment. “We started tearing down huge grows,” he said. “People that get busted don’t go back for their equipment.” He said building managers and landlords began calling him.

“We’ve seen gnarly stuff,” said Robba. “We’ve seen people tunnel down, right through a foundation, down 20 feet to tap into the main power line.” He has disassembled illegal grows with 500 lights making these $5-$6 million illegal operations.

Busted

You would think that it’s the landlord who has called the police and informed them about the illegal grow. But Robba said instead it’s usually disgruntled employees who end up tipping off the police. He told one story about an unhappy employee who knew the building didn’t have security guards on Sunday, so he went there with the intention to steal. Instead, he set off a silent alarm which automatically called the police. Oops.

Another way that illegal grows are discovered is that cities are using drones to find buildings with excessive amounts of HVAC equipment on the roof. Most buildings will have a few of these mechanical units on the roof, but a grow could have as many as 40. A telltale sign of something unusual.

Then there’s the smell. Robba said one operation without thinking opened a roof panel on the building, thus letting out the fragrant aroma of its cannabis plants. Neighbors complained and called the police.

Code Violations

With all these illegal grows getting busted and torn down, one would think people would be going to jail but that isn’t happening. Police departments found it wasted time and money to go after the lawbreakers. An operation one block from the police station in San Bernardino was busted with over 25,000 plants and no one went to jail.  Instead, cities found that good old-fashioned building codes and civil penalties were the way to go.

It’s very black and white. There is no way to argue building codes. It removes the police and courtrooms from the equation. It’s very easy for a city to tag a property with a building code violation and charge the owner with fees and penalties. Five tons of HVAC equipment on a roof is a dangerous situation for the occupants inside because in general buildings aren’t able to withstand that amount of weight.

It’s a violation and the city can earn big money by charging an owner a daily penalty until the building comes back into compliance. So, rather than spend money on police and attorneys to shut down an illegal grow, the city can instead earn money and still have the same outcome. This incentivizes the owners and landlords to fix the situation as quickly as possible.

Used Equipment

If the equipment is cheap and old, Robba will charge the owners to remove it. If it’s high quality, then they pay the landlord a reduced rate to demolish the grow. Robba said he does about two a month, but then added he’s already done three this past month. A new light can cost $250 each, while Robba pays about $20 for each ballast, he can resell them for roughly $75.

He believes the high tax rate of legal cannabis companies in California is creating the shadow black market. While many hobbyists buy his used equipment, he also believes that plenty of small black market operators are buying it as well. Still, he said it is getting harder for the illegal grows to stay in business as the city cracks down.

He doesn’t condone breaking the law, but he said the disruption of legalization has hurt the small operators who will now need to turn to other forms of business to make a living. Other things that could be more harmful than a small grow operation.


StaffJuly 20, 2018
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6min21920

Part 3 of 8 for 2018 Cannabis Trends: Increased demand domestically and internationally promote advancements in agricultural technology.

Agricultural technology in the cannabis industry is undergoing some big big changes and, in 2018, expect those changes to continue to accelerate towards automated, wireless, and efficient. The biggest catalyst for change is the Canadian cannabis market. Cannabis companies across the nation are signing supply agreements with Canadian provinces, and in order to meet those demands they are building massive production facilities.

For example, several months ago the cannabis giant Canopy Growth Corp. recently signed a supply agreement with Prince Edward Island to supply the province with 1 million grams of cannabis annually. Canopy has also signed similar agreements with other Canadian provinces.

To keep up with this demand, Canopy is currently in the process of constructing two massive production facilities; one that will total 1.3 million square feet of growing space and the other totaling to about 1.7 million square feet. Once you figure in Canopy’s other production facilities, the company is expected to have over 5 million square feet of growing space; which is astonishing.

In order to manage all of the space, cannabis companies are looking for ways to improve efficiency and automation. Take Gavita for example. Gavita is a lighting and hydroponics company that recently became popular with cannabis growers ever since it was purchased by Scotts Miracle-Gro. Gavita’s most popular product used to be the 1000W DE HPS system but, as grower’s search for better efficiency, the 750W fixture has started to outsell it.

Expect the cannabis industry in 2018 to start moving away from traditional HPS lighting solutions in favor of both LED and Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) Lighting.

LED lights have been on the market for years now, but it’s only been recently that the price of LEDs have become competitive. The big advantage of LEDs comes from the fact that they require less energy, emit less heat, and can manipulate the light spectrum to maximize growth. Some also claim that LEDs can help deter pests and bacteria growth, but there’s been little scientific research to confirm these claims.

The breakout star of AgTech this year, however, is going to be CMH lighting. Because of their unique properties, CMH lights are more efficient than HPS lights (350W per lamp vs. 1000W), are cheaper than LEDs, and have on average a Color Rendering Index (CRI) score of 90 out of 100. HPS lights only have a CRI score of between 20-30 and metal halide lights have a CRI range of 60-65.

In terms of automation, cannabis cultivators are looking to reduce as many simple tasks in the cultivation process as possible. Using platforms like Grownetics, cannabis cultivators can track their grows, automate lighting, and utilize big data to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Other companies are taking automation to a whole new level. For example, a startup in Boston called Bloom Automation is currently developing a robot that is capable of trimming cannabis plants. Although the robot is too expensive right now to employ on a massive scale, expect Bloom and other cannabis companies to start seeking similar solutions in both the short and long term.

For the short and long term, expect the world of cannabis agtech to bend towards automation and cheaper, less energy-intensive, lighting solutions. One company already moving in this direction is VividGro. Recently the company launched its first lightweight sustainable light fixture, GroBar, as well as announced the acquisition of home cannabis grow-app WeGrow; which the company hopes to use its technology to help provide more streamlined solutions to cannabis cultivators.

You can download the 2018 Cannabis Trend Report for free by clicking here.


William SumnerFebruary 27, 2018
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4min23830

Part Four of a Four-part Series

The California Growers Association (CGA) believes that the California cannabis market is on the verge of a crisis. In a recently released report, the organization, which represents more than 1,100 small and independent cannabis businesses, details a litany of issues facing the California market; including the sobering statistic that less than 1% of the state’s cannabis cultivators are licensed.

So where do we go from here? How does California help stem the tide of this emerging crisis? In the fourth and final part of our four-part series, Green Marker Report will take you through the 36-page CGA report and break down some of the solutions it puts forward to fix California’s cannabis market.

If you missed the previous part, you can click here to view Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

Of the many suggestions put forward in the report, the first and foremost is to eliminate emergency regulations passed by the state Department of Food and Agriculture which allows the unlimited stacking of 1-acre cannabis cultivation licenses. Opponents of the emergency regulation say that the rule violates the spirit and the letter of Proposition 64, which places a five year moratorium on large-scale cultivation, by allowing well-funded cannabis operations to essentially create mega-grows using a combination of small-scale cultivation licenses.

In addition to eliminating loopholes that favor large cannabis businesses, the CGA also suggests a total of 51 policy changes on the state and local; including the following

  • Allow smaller cannabis businesses to adjust to new regulation by creating tiered timelines for compliance.
  • Establish a temporary sales license enabling cannabis cultivators to sell directly to consumer through special event like Farmers’ Markets.
  • Remove premise requirements for cannabis transportation businesses.
  • Allow transportation businesses to reside at the same premises of another cannabis business
  • Reduce testing costs by allowing the compositing of multiple cannabis strains into a single testing batch and by reducing the number of batches required for testing.
  • Allow microbusiness license holders to operate at multiple premises for various purposes
  • Create a revolving loan fund for small cannabis businesses
  • Lower the excise tax rate
  • Streamline the cannabis tax collection process
  • Make compassionate use donations tax exempt.
  • Replace the cottage outdoor cultivation grow limit of 25 plants with a cultivation space limitation of 2,500 square feet.

Overall, the policy suggestions are aimed at reducing barriers for small, cottage, and specialty cannabis businesses; which the CGA characterizes as a “practical, economic, and moral imperative.” Noting that list of suggested policy changes was nowhere near comprehensive, the CGA hopes that it will serve as starting point for a wider discussion of cannabis regulation and encourages all concerned parties wishing to provide feedback to contact policy@cagrowers.org.


William SumnerFebruary 22, 2018
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5min70832

Part One of a Four-part series.  

Is California’s cannabis market on the verge of a crisis? If you ask the California Growers Association (CGA), the answer is yes. On Feb. 19, 2018, the group, which represents more than 1,100 small and independent cannabis businesses, released a 36-page report dubbed “An Emerging Crisis: Barriers to Entry in California Cannabis.”

The report details the structural, political, financial and cultural barriers that are preventing thousands of small to mid-size cannabis cultivators from participating in the state’s newly legal, and regulated, cannabis market.Of the state’s estimated 68,150 cannabis cultivators, only 534 are actually licensed to cultivate cannabis; which averages out to less that one percent (0.78%).

So why aren’t California’s cannabis cultivators entering the market?

In this four-part series, Green Market Report will take a look at the CGA’s report and walk you through the concerns it raises, the solutions it recommends, and why it matters to you. For Part One, we’ll take a look at why this report matters at all.

In order to understand why any of this matters, one first must look at the two laws which serve as the linchpin of California’s cannabis market: Proposition 64, which legalized recreational cannabis in the state, and the 2017 Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), which attempted to harmonize the medical and recreational market.

The CGA report claims that the role of small to midsize cannabis businesses was central to the conversation surrounding Proposition 64 and MAUCRSA; citing several passages in Proposition 64 aimed at “ensuring… the industry in California will be built around small and medium-sized businesses.,” and notes that MAUCRSA contains similar language.

After establishing the spirit of these two laws, the CGA report examines how the laws’ implementation fails to live up to the spirit; noting several issues which will be covered in more detailed in subsequent issues of this series.

The result of these barriers has had a deleterious effect on market participation from small to midsize cultivators, leading to market consolidation from larger operators. This consolidation leads to four primary issues which concern the CGA:

A small cannabis farm in California. (Shutterstock)

Biodiversity: Most large-scale businesses rely on standardization and reliability. A consolidated cannabis market would result in fewer strain choices for consumers and could limit the discovery of new strains

Overproduction: The CGA estimates that although the state produces 15 million pounds of cannabis a year, the state only consumes three million pounds. Given that the state already produces more than enough cannabis to meet demand, an increase of large-scale is not needed and could lead to overproduction, which is already an issue in states like Oregon.

Increased Use of Pesticides: A hallmark of industrial agriculture is the reliance on pesticides in cultivation, and this is true of large-scale cannabis grows. Small-scale grows, on the other hand, can be managed without the use of pesticides because of their size. More large-scale growers mean more pesticides.

Economic Collapse: The CGA estimates that there are approximately 68,000 small cannabis farms in California. With an average of 3.6 employees per farm, the number of people employed by those farms totals to 258,000. Thousands of people and the communities they live in have built their livelihoods around those farms and current regulations threaten to destabilize that status quo. If this issue is not addressed, the economic fallout could be dire.

Stay Tuned for Part Two

So what is standing in the way between small to midsize cannabis cultivators and becoming licensed by the state? In part two of our series, we’ll take a look at the state and local policies that prevent cannabis cultivators from entering the California market.


William SumnerFebruary 20, 2018
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3min24460

Canopy Growth Corporation (TWMJF) announced today that it has received a license for its cultivation facility in Aldergrove, British Columbia. Operating under the previously announced BC Tweed Joint Venture Inc. banner, the site is set to become one of the largest cannabis cultivation facilities in the world.

The initial license will cover approximately 400,000 square feet of growing space, but it is expected to expand into 1.3 million square feet over the comings month in time for the flowering and harvest stage of cultivation.

On. Feb. 16, 2018, upon learning that it had been issued a license and after consulting with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, the company decided to temporarily halt the trading of its common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange as the license represented a substantial change in the company’s production capacity.

In a statement, Canopy President Mark Zekulin praised his company’s progress in the retail cannabis landscape.

“We are the only producer in Canada who can make this claim and we will continue to leverage our production platform in order to solidify a truly national presence for our cannabis brands,” Zekulin said. “A cultivation license for our first BC Tweed site positions us to continue this trend as Canada’s, and indeed the world’s largest, most reliable and most diversified producer and seller of high quality regulated cannabis.”

Over the weekend, the company shipped more than 100,000 cannabis clones, the largest shipment in company history, to the facility from its Tweed Smith Falls Campus to help kick-start the cultivation process.

With the Aldergrove facility now operational, the company plans to turn its focus to a second cultivation facility in British Columbia. With construction well underway, the facility is expected to have approximately 1.7 million square feet of growing space; bringing the company’s total available growing space to 5.6 million square feet.

“As proud native British Columbians and long-time horticulture producers we are excited to continue the proud tradition of BC bud on a national scale,” added BC Tweed’s Victor Krahn. “Working with Canopy Growth we’re going to take the Tweed brand to the next level on the West Coast and bring the best our province has to offer to the country and the world.”


Debra BorchardtOctober 11, 2017
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7min21270

“California is America’s number one domestic cannabis producer, growing about 13 million pounds a year. So the timing of these wildfires couldn’t get much worse,” said Sarah Browne,  a cannabis market researcher, and writer, founder of Radar MRX. “The fragile, fragrant flower blooms right now — in the middle of fire season. Many growers have already cut a portion of their harvests or were on the cusp of cutting. Others report that their product is covered completely with ash and soot and smoke. And what smoke does to the delicate bud isn’t pretty. Not only does the smoke taint the taste and smell of the crop — just like wine — but smokey crops are more susceptible to diseases such as mold, mildew, and fungus.”

The fires are taking place in Mendocino country, which is part of the famed Emerald Triangle. Communication has been spotty since the landlines are mostly down and internet and wifi reception is spotty. Many in the area have taken to scouring Facebook for updates from friends that own farms to find out if they have suffered damage. If crops didn’t burn down then they are surely tainted by the smoke and ash. Since the area is responsible for a large amount of cannabis, the people that track marijuana prices closely were asked whether this fire would impact pricing. At the risk of sounding insensitive to farmers who had lost everything, those chose to remain unnamed but had these comments At the risk of sounding insensitive to farmers who had lost everything, those chose to remain unnamed but had these comments regarding cannabis prices.

“While there are supposedly several thousand (I’ve seen estimates between 3,000 and 5,000) small individual farms in Sonoma, much more product comes out of the Emerald Triangle of course. There are fires up in Humboldt / Mendo / Trinity, but they do not appear as severe or widespread. Also, keep in mind that 2015 was a pretty bad year for fires as well and ultimately we saw prices go down with the harvest as they do usually.

Some supply will be destroyed or ruined, but from a wholesale market perspective, the delta is so small, especially this time of year, that there will be little impact on average wholesale prices across the state.
However, there would or will be higher prices for local dispensaries that will need to find replacement sources.  Also, if any brands have long-term purchase contracts from impacted growers, then they could see disruption in getting product to market as well as inconsistency of end product (e.g., they’re using a specific strain with a specific THC/CBD profile for an infused product, and now they have to tinker with the processing equipment to use a different feedstock).”

There are unconfirmed reports of some dispensaries in Santa Rosa having burned down. Browne said, “Santa Rosa has emerged as the epicenter of the modern legal pot economy in California. Imagine if fires like these swept through Silicon Valley? Imagine the effect on the tech industry? Many companies spent a small fortune qualifying and preparing for Prop 64 by leasing Santa Rosa warehouse space. Now those buildings are gone. And the cannabis industry can’t be insured, to say nothing of the homes and jobs lost.”

“Spark Farm in Glen Ellen was completely devastated,” said Kristin Nevedal, Founding Chair of the International Cannabis Farmers Association, a group of farmers and scientists that promote sun-grown cannabis products. She was also hesitant to discuss any other farms that may have been destroyed since it could hurt their standing with investors. She also pointed out that many farms don’t have insurance and for some homesteaders, it was their entire lives that had gone up in smoke.

The industry insider also speculated on how these farmers will report their losses if they could report them at all.

“There may be strategic or tactical reasons to claim losses are bigger than they actually are/were, or that they are less than they actually are/were.  For example, if someone was growing more plants/canopy than permitted, they may need to under-report losses, but if folks have some form of insurance, they may want to over-report.  With so many growers, and especially during this volatile time ahead of the regulatory transition, I would image that there are a variety of operating farms in some degree of acquisition or divestiture… how does this impact the valuation and status of those deals?”

One potential solution for the farmers that have tainted crops is to sell the product to producers of concentrates. The extraction process could remove the smoke and ash particles and essentially “clean” the cannabis. However, prices for concentrate materials tend to be lower than craft cannabis prices for flower. Yet, even as devastating as the fire is to farms, human life and animal life, there can be recovery.

“Having experienced total loss of our family farm just two years ago in the Butte Fire, my heart is broken for all of those affected by the Northern California fires these past few days,” said Bloom Farms Founder & CEO Michael Ray. “We all need to take care of each other. We are mobilizing and coordinating efforts in the cannabis community to provide any relief that we can in this terribly sad time.


Debra BorchardtSeptember 25, 2017
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It’s a good thing to be a cannabis grower in California these days. The wholesale prices are settling above the U.S. Spot, which is a phenomenon not seen over the past 18 months according to a new report from Cannabis Benchmarks. However, growers can’t rest easy because the market is about to be disrupted as new regulations take hold.

The Mid 2017 Cannabis Benchmark report noted that California’s spot index opened 2017 at $1,413 per pound and has tracked higher for the first half of the year. Prices peaked at $1,724 per pound just popping above the U.S. average price of $1,614. Unfortunately, prices are still lower than 2016. The average price for the first half of 2017 was $1,525 per pound, a drop of 12.2%

Outdoor growers are getting the worst prices for their crops. Those prices  have averaged $1,133 per pound, plunging 27% from 2016. Indoor and green-house grown products fell 8% and 7.4% respectively. This signals trouble to the analysts at Cannabis Benchmarks. According to the report, this trend is troubling for existing outdoor farmers hoping to enter California’s imminent licensed system. Such operations can require significant capital to come into compliance with the state’s extensive water and environmental quality regulations.

For 20 years, California has been allowing the legal sale of medical marijuana in an unregulated environment and that will change in January 2018. State and local officials are now tasked with bringing in line all of the players that have operated without any oversight. According to cannabis benchmarks, the reason prices have been climbing is that growers are working to hold onto the current value of their crops knowing that it will be expensive to operate in compliance with the new rules. He believes that prices in the California market could become erratic as the year-end approaches.

The black market that operates in the state mostly exports their crops. However, the Cannabis Benchmarks report noted that illegal cannabis has been finding its way into the legal market and vice versa. The historical lack of stringent tracking and reporting in California’s medical cannabis program has allowed the black market and legal market to essentially maintain an equilibrium, with supply and demand shifting between the two to maximize revenue for sellers and minimize price for buyers.

The report suggests that many farmers will probably continue to operate outside of the regulated market at least through the fourth quarter and possibly into the first quarter of next year. Compounding the switchover to regulation is that the five largest cities in the state have only permitted a small number of retailers and two of the five cities have rejected adult-use marijuana completely. On the one hand, prices could rise as there are fewer options for trading and a fragmented retail market.

However, growers that need thousands of dollars to comply with environmental and water quality standards may find themselves dumping large supplies in the market for fast cash. This could put pressure on pricing. Since the black market is well-established and thriving, these growers may decide to roll the dice on getting caught and continue to operate making the switch to a regulated market even more challenging.


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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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